Education Ministry Pressing Ahead with Political Code of Conduct for Educators

Education Minister Ruel Reid, says the Ministry will be going ahead with plans to institute a political code of conduct for educators.

A concept document of the code was obtained by Nationwide News. It speaks to several restrictions to be placed on educators who are politically active.

Minister Reid says the document is there to safeguard teachers and the profession and is not an attempt at political victimization. Among the restrictions, the code will prevent educators who are politically active from criticizing the Minister and Ministry personnel in any public forum including social media.

Education Minister, Ruel Reid, says the code of conduct is being developed to protect the profession.

The Minister says thus far the sector has been unregulated, but it’s now time to ensure terms of professional conduct are adhered to.

Minister Reid previously wrote to the Office of the Political Ombudsman about what he described as politically charged comments from educators on social media. The Minister says educators must hold themselves to the standards they expect from students.

In recent weeks the Principal of Belmont Academy, Rayon Simpson, accused the Minister of unfairly targeting him as an alleged political operative.

Allegations have also been levelled at the Minister that the code of conduct is an attempt to silence teachers who are seeking to run on a PNP ticket. This includes the Principal of Padmore Primary, Keisha Hayle, who recently ran against Dr. Nigel Clarke in North West St. Andrew. She remains the PNP’s caretaker in the constituency.

A line in the draft code speaks to the resignation of a school board Chairman if there’s a principal in a named political office at the same school and said chairman is a fellow member of the political organization or an opposite organization.

It’s understood that the Chairman of Padmore at the time of Ms. Hayle’s election bid was former Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry, Elaine Foster Allen. Mrs. Foster Allen is also Chairman of the PNP’s Education Commission.

However, Mr. Reid rejects any suggestions that the code of conduct is an attempt at political victimization.

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